A photo from the upper balcony of the Jack Singer Concert Hall with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra on stage
Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra on stage | Photo: Courtesy of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra

Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra Fall Series

Classical favourites return to the stage with new series of free online concerts

Amy Jo Espetveidt

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Starting small and gradually building toward the day when it can have all 66 musicians back together onstage, the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra goes digital for this new series.

Kicking off on October 3 with solo and duet performances by two orchestra musicians who grew up in Calgary, a new concert video premieres each weekend with the number of musicians increasing one performance at a time.

From trios, quartets, and quintets, up to larger ensembles, this series of free weekly concerts is shared virtually to give as many people as possible a chance to enjoy.

“We have heard over and over again how much comfort music has brought people over the past six months and how much they appreciate our virtual performances,” says Paul Dornian, President and CEO of the Calgary Phil, in a statement. “In return, we have received tremendous support from our loyal audience and the community, which has helped make it possible for us to create new experiences online.

“We want to honour that contribution by making these concerts accessible to everyone—we don’t want anyone to miss out due to financial hardship or because they have to remain in isolation. This is also a great opportunity to reach Calgarians and others who haven’t yet discovered our amazing orchestra.”

As the season progresses, concert details will be released one month at a time to allow for flexibility as COVID-19 guidelines evolve. Right now, all you need to do is register in advance at calgaryphil.com, and those who are financially able are encouraged to support this initiative through a donation to the orchestra.

And, in the weeks ahead, the orchestra hopes to slowly bring audience members back into the concert hall starting with a handful of patrons.

“Since it’s not possible for everyone to be together in the concert hall right now, we’re using the top-quality streaming platform we developed over the last five years to reach all of you at home,” says Music Director Rune Bergmann in a statement. “This series will be very interesting for our audience—you get the opportunity to hear some of the greatest chamber music ever written, as well as some pieces you may not have heard before. These smaller concerts also shine a spotlight on the talent we are so lucky to have in Calgary.”

The first concert features two members of the orchestra with strong local connections—Assistant Concertmaster Donovan Seidle on violin and Principal Cellist Arnold Choi—and continues throughout October with both contemporary and classical selections.

It all kicks off at 7:30pm on October 3, 2020 and the upcoming schedule can be found at calgaryphil.com.